Cloud Hands

The Gentle Mind-Body Arts of Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung

Journal

Reflections, Notes, Suggestions, References, Questions and Answers, 
Links, Quotations, Blog

Index to the Valley Spirit Journal

 

May 2003


By

Michael P. Garofalo

 

 

May 31, 2003, Saturday


Origin of the Thirteen Postures


"The apocryphal founder of Tai Chi was a monk of the Wu Tang Monastery, Chang San-feng to whom have 
been ascribed various dates and longevity's. Some scholars doubt his historical existance, viewing him as 
a literary construct on the lines of Lao Tzu. Other research and records from the Ming-shih (the official 
chronicles of the Ming dynasty) seem to indicate that he lived in the period from 1391 to 1459.  

Linking some of the older forms with the notion of yin-yang from Taoism and stressing the 'internal' aspects 
of his exercises, he is credited with creating the fundamental 'Thirteen Postures' of Tai Chi corresponding 
to the eight basic trigrams of the I Ching and the five elements."

-   Christopher Majka, The History of Tai Chi

 

 

 

May 30, 2003, Friday


Chang San-Feng


I first met Chang San-Feng above the forest, 
near the clear spring,
when gathering clouds darkened the day,
and Mt. Shasta was silent.

His long beard was black as emptiness,
ear lobes to his shoulders,
holding obsidian in his hand,
pointing to the sun,
eyes staring into infinity,
his long body clothed in silence.

We exchanged "hellos"
smiled and bowed,
a barbarian and an Immortal,
both panting from the climb,
laughing,
ten-thousand echoes
between our rocky minds.

After billions upon billions of heartbeats past
(for he must have been 888 years old),
I was so bold
as to ask the ancient one
for the sacred mantra of yore.
He lifted his wisk,
and brushed my face,
I could not speak,
my lips were stone,
ideas stopped
I was alone. 

 



 

 

 

 

May 29, 2003, Thursday


The Silence of Tai Chi Chuan Practice

 

There are many matters and many circumstances in which consciousness is 
undesirable and silence is golden, so that secrecy can be used as a marker 
to tell us that we are approaching the holy.
-  Gregory Bateson, Angels Fear

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is 
elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.
-   Mahatma Gandhi

To have a quiet mind is to possess one's mind wholly; to have a calm spirit 
is to possess one's self 
-   Hamilton Mabie

An inability to stay quiet is one of the conspicuous failings of mankind.
-   Walter Bagehot

Under all speech that is good for anything there lies a silence that is better. 
Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as Time.
-   Thomas Carlyle

 

 

 

May 28, 2003, Wednesday

Tai Chi Walking

Walk slowly forward eight steps.
When you lift your leg up the arm on the same side as that leg should rise up.
     Right leg up and right arm up.
     Left leg up and left arm up.
Lift your heel, then knee, then foot as high as you can, but keep your balance.
     Your foot might be one inch or 12 inches above the floor, depending upon 
     your ability and physical condition.  Don't strain - go easy.  
Keep your body upright, head up, and relax.
As you lift a leg up, your weight should be in the opposite leg with the knee bent.
As you place your foot down place your heel down first.
     Step out only as far from the other foot as necessary while keeping the
     weight on the opposite leg.  Don't overstep.  
Step gingerly, carefully, gently, and with caution.  Walk like a cat.  
Transfer weigh to the front leg and roll onto the ball then toes.
Lift your back heel, then knee, then toes.  Move the leg to the front.  

Walk slowly backward ten steps.
When you lift your leg up and back, the arm on the same side as that leg should move back.  
     Right leg up and back, and right arm back.  
     Left leg up and back, and left arm back.  
Lift your toe, then knee, then heel.
Lift your leg as high as you can, but keep your balance.
Keep your body upright, head up, and relax.  
As you lift a leg up, your weight should be in the opposite leg with the knee bent.
As you place your foot back and down place your toe down first.
Keep your feet apart and your foot to the side.  Don't cross your feet. 
Step gingerly, carefully, gently, and with caution.  Step like a cat.
Transfer weigh to the back leg and roll onto the ball then heel

Repeat the exercise numerous times.
Concentrate on some aspect each time: balance, heel placed first when stepping
forward, same arm as leg, knee as high as possible, walking slowly, shifting weight
from side to side (empty-full), enjoying learning something new to do with your body
like a young child, smiling, breathing naturally but fully, retreating safely, gracefulness,
martial implications, etc.

 

 

 

May 27, 2003, Tuesday

Tai Chi Newsletter

I have found Dr. Paul Lam's (MD) Tai Chi e-mail newsletter to be both informative and 
well written.  He has been involved with producing books, videos, DVDs, and writing 
articles for the best Tai Chi magazines.  You can subscribe to his "Tai Chi, Health and
Lifestyle Newsletter" by visiting the website: Tai Chi Productions.   

In the May issue of his e-mail newsletter he writes about the need to do the form at a 
steady, consistent, even pace.  The forms can be done at different rates of speed, 
from very slow to moderately fast; but, at whatever speed chosen, use the same 
speed during the entire form.  

"The nature of all tai chi movements is essentially to gather energy and deliver it as it is a 
martial art. So you breathe in as though you are drawing a bow to store energy and breathe 
out to shoot the arrow or deliver the energy. Alternating storing and delivering of energy on a 
continual basis is natural and necessary. So is the variation of speed. At the beginner's phase,
to execute the same even speed throughout a movement train you to better control your mind 
and body coordination and integration. Later on, the subtle variation of speed will enhance 
your inner force."
-  Dr. Paul Lam, "Variation in Speed," May 2003

 

 

 

May 26, 2003, Monday

Song of the Thirteen Postures

The 13 postures are far more than Taijiquan postures, applications, movements or martial 
techniques.  They really form an outline of the various states and applications of energy, 
internal-external power, and mental attitude essential to real achievement in Taijiquan.  The
serious study of these 13 principles leads one to the true spirit of Taijiquan.  

"You must pay attention to the turning transformations of empty and full,
and the chi moving throughout your body without the slightest hindrance.

In the midst of stillness one comes in contact with movement, moving as though remaining still.
According with one's opponent, the transformations appear wondrous.

For each and every posture, concentrate your mind and consider the meaning of the applications.
You will not get it without conciously expending a great deal of time and effort.

Moment by moment, keep the mind/heart on the waist.
With the lower abdomen completely loosened, the chi will ascend on its own."
Song of the Thirteen Postures

 

Memorial Day in the USA.  A day to remember the effort and sacrifice of all the soldiers that
have chosen to fight for the just causes, for liberty, and to protect the people of the USA.  We
thank them and we salute them!  [This does not mean we agree with or approve of all the 
military campaigns of the USA.]

 

 

May 25, 2003, Sunday

Support for Tai Chi from Medical Doctors (MD)


Dr. John Cheng

Dr. Paul Lam

Dr. Ming Pang

 

 

May 24, 2003, Saturday

Red Bluff to Portland and Yang to Yin

My wife and I helped my son move to Portland this weekend.  He is beginning a two 
year program at the Culinary Arts Institute in Portland.  

This is the first time in the last 27 years that our home has no children, teenagers,
or young adults living with us.  Our nest is now empty.   Full then empty, yang then
yin.

"The Chinese place yin (negative) before yang (positive), because the negative is the
Mother of the positive.  Therefore, there must be stillness before activity, softness before
firmness.  In Taijiquan, yin and yang relate to movements such as opening and closing, and
qualities such as firm and yielding, fast and slow, hard and soft, expanding and contracting,
solid and empty, up and down, etc.  In the legs, yin-yang is distinguished by weight distribution
that has one leg "full" in support of the body while the other leg is "empty" and capable of 
instant direction change.  The same principle applies to the upper and lower body.  One must
balance yin and yang: movements should not be too soft or too hard."
-  Davidine Sim and David Gaffney, Chen Style Taijiquan, 2002, p. 13.  

 

 

 

May 23, 2003, Friday

Zen Poetry

The philosophers and believers in Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism have all had some
influence on the development of Taiji and Qigong over many centuries.  Many stories and 
legends about internal arts masters involve monks from the Shaolin Temple or the Wutang 
Temple.  In the coming years, the Cloud Hands website will expand to include references
and links to these materials.  

Buddhist monks came to China to teach and translate Buddhist scriptures into Chinese in
the 2nd century AD.  The famous Ta Mo, Bodhidharma, lived in China around 530 AD.  He
is credited with starting Buddhist monks on a vigorous physical conditioning progam at the
Shaolin Temple. 

Wide-eyed staring into the Rich silence
Of mirrored space devoid of mind;
Not projecting or connecting, but reflecting
Supreme non-fictions, Things
Naked as they are, as they are ..
-  Michael P. Garofalo, Above the Fog

 

 

 

May 22, 2003, Thursday

Can You Make it Flawless?


"Carrying vitality and consciousness,
embracing them as one, 
can you keep them from parting?
Concentrating energy,
making it supple, 
can you be like an infant?
Purifying hidden perception, 
can you make it flawless?"
Tao Te Ching, #10, Translated by Thomas Cleary

 

 

 

May 21, 2003, Wednesday

A New Book on the Chen Style of Tai Chi Chuan


Chen Style Taijiquan: The Source of Taiji Boxing
.  By Davidine Siaw-Voon Sim and
David Gaffney.  Berkeley, CA, North Atlantic Books, 2002.  Index, charts, 224 pages.
ISBN: 1556433778.   MGC.  Provides an excellent introduction to Chen style Taijiquan
history and legends, outlines the major forms, discusses the philosophy and foundations 
of the art, and gives very good information on training methods, push hands, and weapons.
Very well written, highly informative, and a unique contribution to the field.  Essential 
reading for all learning the Chen style of Tai Chi Chuan.  

"The Chinese place yin (negative) before yang (positive), because the negative is the
Mother of the positive.  Therefore, there must be stillness before activity, softness before
firmness.  In Taijiquan, yin and yang relate to movements such as opening and closing, and
qualities such as firm and yielding, fast and slow, hard and soft, expanding and contracting,
solid and empty, up and down, etc.  In the legs, yin-yang is distinguished by weight distribution
that has one leg "full" in support of the body while the other leg is "empty" and capable of 
instant direction change.  The same principle applies to the upper and lower body.  One must
balance yin and yang: movements should not be too soft or too hard."
-  Sim and Gaffney, Chen Style Taijiquan, 2002, p. 13.  

 

 

 

May 20, 2003, Tuesday

Thigh Chi


I often tell those studying Tai Chi Chuan that they will need to improve their legs to be successful in this art.
The forms will help them improve the power, flexibility and endurance in their legs.  They will also need to walk, jog,
jump rope, or hike.  They can also greatly benefit from doing supplementary strength training with weights: squats, 
leg presses, leg curls, reverse leg curls, calf raises, and lunges.  It is also important to stretch the legs to help the
muscles, tendons, and ligaments gain more flexibility.  Supplementary exercises to help them improve their balance, 
their nimbleness and quickness in leg and foot movements, and the explosive power in their legs are also very 
beneficial.  Additional work in practicing a variety of kicks and kicking at a heavy punching bag will also benefit 
the serious student, since many Tai Chi Chuan forms include few kicks.  Finally, students should read and study 
about the anatomy and physiology of the legs and feet.  

Tai Chi could rightly be called "Thigh Chi" considering the importance of the legs to the successful practice of 
this internal martial art.  

Beginners should expect to experience tightness and soreness in their legs for the first three months of practice.  
Intermediate students need to begin a more serious training program for their legs, and will, of course, 
experience some tightness and soreness in their legs on an ongoing basis.  Feel the burn!  This is good!   

 

 

 

May 19, 2003, Monday

Who is the Opponent?


In our daily life, if we are wise and cautious, we will rarely face an opponent that wishes to do us bodily harm.
Fighting for our life, defending ourselves, or protecting our family or property, thankfully, rarely requires a fist fight, the
use of weapons, and the use of reasonable force to defeat an enemy intent on causing us harm.  We might face that 
terrible situation someday, and our martial arts training might be of practical use.

So, who is our real opponent?  Why study these ancient internal martial arts if there is nobody to fight?  

Today, our main opponents, our real enemies, are stress, bodily inactivity, laziness, eating too much, a lack of will, 
addictions, being out of shape, carelessness, mental agitation, artlessness, passivity, and a lack of participation in
a meaningful tradition.  The serious study and practice of Tai Chi Chuan will help us fight against these real and
deadly enemies.  

Those aspects of Tai Chi Chuan that deal with worry, confusion, anger, tension, agitation, carelessness, 
poor self image, lack of feeling, insensitivity, and harshness are particularly effective.  Practice of this
"internal" art has a proven track record for reducing stress, helping concentration, lowering tension,
improving our sensitivity, calming troubled spirits, producing tranquility, and improving self-mastery.  

I do not think that Tai Chi Chuan alone provides sufficient exercise to defeat some of these real enemies.  Good 
students will also, at a minimum, need to walk, stretch, rest properly, garden, do some strength training, and 
practice a slow form (Yang) on a daily basis.  Serious students will need to add aerobic conditioning (e.g., jogging, 
sprints, jump rope, hiking, etc.), heavy punching bag work, fast (Chen style and Yang fast forms) and slow forms, 
push hands with other serious students, and new learning experiences with high level students and teachers.  All
students must implement a sound nutrition progam, maintain a reasonable bodyweight, avoid the use of 
recreational drugs, rest and sleep properly, and become more knowledgable and proactive about their 
personal health regimen.  All students with medical problems (e.g, high blood pressure, diabetes, allergies,
asthma, joint problems, etc.) need to seek proper medical attention from a qualified doctor.  

 

 

May 18, 2003, Sunday

Purchasing Tai Chi Chuan Books and Magazines


I highly recommend purchasing Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong books, videotapes, audiotapes,
CDs, DVDs, and supplies from Wayfarer Publications.  They have been in business since
1981.  You can get more information at the Wayfarer website.  You can place telephone
orders at 800-888-9119.  They offer a useful print version of the Wayfarer Publications 
Catalog
.  They also publish the fine quarterly magazine: T'ai Chi Magazine.   You can write 
to them at: Wayfarer Publications, P. O. Box 39938, Los Angeles, CA 90039.  Their selection 
is quite extensive, but a few good titles are missing from their fine print catalog.  I have 
found their service to be excellent, the staff helpful, and orders promptly and accurately handled.  
The annotations in their 50 page catalog are brief but informative.  

I also provide links to Amazon.com for the books and videotapes cited at this website.
Oftentimes, the Amazon entry will have additional information, reviews, and links
to related books.  You can get the same items from Barnes & Noble, Powell's Books,
and elsewhere.  I provide full bibliographic information when possible, including 
the ISBN number to facilitate searching.  

If any authors or publishers would like me to review their publications, please send them 
to: Michael P. Garofalo, 23005 Kilkenny Lane, Red Bluff, CA 96080.  I'm a retired person, 
so donations, grants, gifts, students, and others means of support are very much 
appreciated.   Webmasters are welcome to send information about their websites to 
me by e-mail for consideration and link exchanges.  I welcome inquiries by telephone:
530-528-2054.   

 

 

 

May 17, 2003, Saturday

Our Original Nature


Carefull observe very young children.  Notice their flexiblity, their playfulness, their softness, 
and their vitality.  Notice their innocence, openness to others, and their lack of fixed ideas.  
Notice, like Piaget, their lively interest in concrete objects, real processes and things,
physicality, and a lack of abstract reasoning skills.   Notice their love of movement,
acting, pretending, touching, and in movement for movements sake.  This is our
original nature.  

Both Christianity and Buddhism espouse doctrines that say our natural condition is one
of suffering, sinfulness, sorrow and death.  Both advise us to adopt their doctrines and 
practices to enable us to overcome our natural original condition and to achieve true 
happiness, salvation, enlightenment, and overcome spiritual death.  Isalm is not too 
different in this respect. 

The religious and philosophical roots of Tai Chi Chuan run deep into the rocky soils of 
Taoism, Confucianism, Humanism, and Buddhism. It is most strongly influenced by
Taosim, Chinese medical theory and practices, and humanistic concerns for 
well-being, good health, longevity, and peace.  

"T'ai Chi Ch'uan bases itself exclusively on gentleness, softness, naturalness and bringing
you back to your original nature.  Daily training makes the muscles and bones become
softer and more pliable, and it especially causes the breath to become natural.  These 
are the results of disciplining and refining the ching, ch'i, and shen to the end of your
days.  How then can you consider dispensing with your kung or wish to suffer bitterly."
-  Chen Yen-lin, 1932, Cultivating the Ch'i, Translated by Stuart Alve Olson, p. 30.

    

 

May 16, 2003, Friday

How Many Movements in a Form?


Currently, I am doing a thorough review of the Peking Simplified 24 Movement Version of 
Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, or the Yang Short Form.   I practice this form every day.   I first
learned this short form in 1986 from Sensei Frank McGourick.  I have collected my notes
and references about this form together during my review.  This form is consistently listed
as the "24 movement short form" because it was developed by physical education 
instructors in China who wanted more consistency in the teaching of a standardized form
to large numbers of students - and they probably even gave written pop quizzes on the 
material.  Naming the movements, providing a list of the movements, simplifying the 
number of movements, and dividing the teaching into parts all helped beginning 
students to learn the form quickly.    

How to count the number of movements in any tai chi chuan form is always problematic.
Some authors, for example, call Ward-Off, Roll-Back, Press and Pull (the first four Gates)
four movements, and others group them together as one movement, called "Grasping
the Sparrow's Tail."  One teacher will give you a list of the form that has 124 named
movements, and another teacher, performing the exact same form, will give you a list 
of the form showing 108 movements.  Some teachers don't give you a list of the movements 
in the form they teach, they name only a few of the movements, and expect you to do
your learning through repetition of the movements with few verbal or written cues.    

 

 

May 15, 2003, Thursday

Website and Journal Development


How to Keep a T'ai Chi Journal.  By Carol Ann McFrederick.  T'ai Chi, June, 2002, 
Volume 26, No. 3, pp. 59-60.  Professor McFredericks encourages us to write 
immediately after our training sessions, to record the changes in our body in response 
to training or movements, to use the journal to facilitate the learning process, to 
record how our interpretation of T'ai Chi changes over time, and to use the journal 
for purposes of self-discovery.  She urges the writer to use drawings as well as words. 

A public journal - blog, like this one, needs a few more guidelines.  I will develop them
as I proceed.  

I approach writing webpages like writing in a journal.  I research, read, and write every
day on the topic.  Each day something is added to one or more of these webpages.  
Each day, I immediately publish to the website what I have added to the webpages.
Some folks get annoyed with me because of my approach in this respect.  They only 
want a finished product - for free.  Learning tai chi chuan is a slow process requiring 
patience.  My readers will just have to be more patient.  Desires for benefits being free, 
complete, detailed, easy to acquire, and readily available are unrealistic.  My 
recommendation to my readers is for them to return to the website - again and again.   

Three people wrote to me in the last week about the Eight Section Brocade.  All wanted
to know when I would complete writing about this Qi Gong set.  I hope to finish the first
draft by August, 2003.  They can purchase excellent books and videotapes on the subject
right now; and I have listed these in the bibliography I provided.  

 

 

May 14, 2003, Wednesday

Smiling


My fist Tai Chi Chuan teacher, Sensei Frank McGourick, frequently asked us to smile while practicing the
forms.  Not a big wide grin, but a nice soft smile.  Lift up the sides of the mouth.  Show a pleasant facial
demeanor that indicates pleasure, relaxation, contentment.  Smile!

Numerous authors have discussed the positive effects of smiling, laughter, humor, and a positive attitude
of our mental and physical health.  A joyful playfulness is essential to improving our health.  A wise 
foolishness helps us appreciate and treasure our brief lives.   

Smiling to indicate pleasure, satisfaction, and contentment is a hard-wired reflex in human beings.  It is 
a universal mark of OK-ness.    

Hard style, external martial artists often work very hard to achieve a high level of athletic achievement in 
the areas of speed, agility, conditioning, strength, power, and focus.  They often maintain a neutral facial 
appearance, or a glaring, scowling, mean, angry looking facial demeanor.  Seldom do they smile, especially
in sparring or combat, not wanting to insult their opponent or not wanting to show anything but toughness
and brutal intent.  

It is essential for soft style, internal martial artists to lighten up, smile, show a softer and gentler side on their
face.  They should connect their beautiful art with that hard-wired mental pattern of pleasure and playfulness 
reflected in a nice easy smile.  A pleasant smile works wonders for yourself and others.  

Of what use is it for any of us to defeat 800 opponents, but be unable to smile often in a long and 
healthy life?   Better for us smile and defeat nobody.   

 

 

May 13, 2003, Tuesday

Visualization


A teenager, Numair Qureshi, wrote to me about Chi.  He said, "I teach them the awareness of it. You might go to 
hundreds of websites and all of them just say visualize. They call visualization imagining when in fact, visualization 
is much more than that.  Far more than just imagining something.  You have to learn its awareness."  

Visualization is very important to success in Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung.  The ability to clearly and accurately
picture something or some process in your mind is essential to learning something new, reinforcing material 
already learned, and achieving excellence in some art.  Memorization is enhanced with visualization.  We can
also vividly imagine and elaborately visualize many people, events, stories and phenomena that are unreal. 
People actively do this while reading fiction, viewing films, thinking about magical and supernatural powers, 
praying, discussing esoteric forces, acting, and playing games.  Visualization is therefore, a two sided
sword: defending truth or falsehoods, destroying truth or falsehoods.  

"What is absolutely necessay in the beginning is to follow the imagination.  For instance:
when the two hands form the Push gesture, there is an imagined intent to the front, as
if an opponent was really there.  At this time, within the plams of the hands there is no
ch'i which can be issued.  The practitioner must then imagine the ch'i rising up from the
tan-tien into the spine, through the arms and into the wrists and palms.  Thus, accordingly,
the ch'i is imagined to have penetrated outwards onto the opponent's body."
Chen Yen-lin, 1932, Cultivating the Ch'i, Translated by Stuart Alve Olson, 1993


Chi Kung uses a variety of methods to enable its followers to experience the effects of Chi.  The Kung (vigorous 
effort and diligent practice) of Taoist Chi Kung makes use of exercises, meditation, massage, acupuncture, theory, 
belief, visualizations, imagination, attention, feeling, sexual techniques, postures, vocalizations, herbs, diet, and 
ethical principles.  It is a multi-faceted health regimen.  

Even if you never experience Chi as anything more than a warmth and sensitivity in your hands, never experience
its more esoteric or dramatic effects, or never experience anything that others speak about with enthusiasm or 
praise, or think Chi is just so much New Age hooey, the daily practice (Kung) of internal arts will bring you many
benefits.  So, please continue to practice.  Numerous studies and countless personal reports indicate that Chi Kung 
has positive effects on your physical health and mental well-being.  I believe that the Kung aspect are where the
emphasis must be placed - rigorous daily training.  The special powers attributed to Chi generation and its 
quasi-magical uses and projections are fascinating, but may not be realized by most.  

 

 

 May 12, 2003, Monday

Using the Eyes


Each movement of the Eight Section Brocade has specific techniques for using your eyes.
Exercise your eyes in accordance with the instructions, e.g., following the movements of your hands,
looking off into the distance, looking upward, keeping a wide angle focus of vision, looking down, 
focusing on near and distant objects simultaneously, moving the eyes from side to side, etc.  Do not 
neglect this important dimension of the Eight Treasures.   

In some ways, these eye exercises are similar in style to those developed by optometrists and vision 
improvement advocates such as William H. Bates, Jacob Liberman, Martin Sussman, or Aldos Huxley.  
Learning to use your eyes in new ways and exercising your eye muscles are thought to be of
benefit to your general well-being.  Some persons even report significant improvements in visual 
acuity, and a reduced need for the use of eyeglasses.  

Chi Kung and internal martial arts are often intertwined.  There is no doubt that acute, careful, controlled,
alert and lively visual skills are essential to self-defense and your success as a martial artist.  Your safety 
is dependent upon seeing what is going on around you, keeping your eyes out for trouble, keeping 
your eyes peeled, and seeing what is coming up.  Using your eyes effectively helps you pay attention.

 

 

May 11, 2003, Sunday

Valley Spirit or Gu Shen


"Taoists use the metaphor of gu shen, "the valley spirit."  A valley supports life, feeds the animals who live there 
and provides fertile earth for agriculture.  It can do this only because it is empty.  It accepts the flow of the river 
because it is most low and most humble.  It receives the warmth of the sun because it is wide and not filled with 
anything to block the light.  It brings forth life because it supports all who come to it."
-  Deng Ming-Dao, Scholar Warrior, p. 182

I live in the north Sacramento Valley, California.  At this location the Valley is about 70 miles wide.
To the east are the southern Cascades, a range of volcanic mountains, with some nearby peaks over 
10,000 feet high.  To the west are the Yolly Bolly Mountains, with nearby peaks over 8,000 feet high.
The area where I live is rural.  The primary agricultural products are almonds, olives, walnuts, prunes,
rice, winter wheat, cattle, and sheep.  My outdoor Tai Chi Chuan practice cannot help but be influenced 
by the "Valley Spirit."

I highly recommend the book Scholar Warrior.  It is a comprehensive, well written, and practical introduction
to the Taoist lifestyle and worldview as it relates to personal health and well-being.    
Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life.   By Deng Ming-Dao.  Harper
San Francisco, 1990.   Index, bibliography, 351 pages.  ISBN: 0062502328.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Cloud Hands - Yun Shou

Cloud Hands - Yun Shou

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael P. Garofalo's E-Mail

Red Bluff, Tehama County, Northern California
Close to the Cities of Chico, Orland, Corning, Los Molinos, Anderson and Redding CA

Michael P. Garofalo, 2003, All Rights Reserved

 

Disclaimer

 

Zen and Haiku Poetry

The Spirit of Gardening

 

 

Cloud Hands: Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tai Chi Chuan, Taijiquan, T'a Chi Ch'uan, Tai Chi, Tai Ji Quan, Taiji, Tai Ji Chuan, Tie Jee Chewan

Chi Kung, Qi Gong, Qigong, Chee Gung, Qi, Chi, Tu Na, Dao Yin, Yi, Neigong

 

June 2003

Index to the Valley Spirit Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alphabetical Subject Index

 

Cloud Hands Website
   
Taijiquan, Qigong, Taoism, Classics, Weapons: Sword and Staff


Fitness and Well Being Website

      Gardening, Meditation, Walking, Yoga, Strength Training,
      Fitness for Older Persons, Aerobics, Relaxation  


The Spirit of Gardening

   
2,700 Quotes Arranged by 130 Topics, History, Guides,
     Psycho-Spiritual Aspects of Gardening 



Web Guides, Bibliographies, Links, Directories, Quotes, Notes

 


Alphabetical Subject Index

 

Aging Well   

Alphabetical Subject Index to the Cloud Hands Website   

Ancient Goddesses - Quotations, Poems, Sayings, Prayers, Songs

Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi): Tiger, Bear, Crane, Deer, and Monkey

Arthritis Therapy - Exercise: T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Chi Kung      

Bear, Standing Bear, Level 1 Ranking, Valley Spirit Taijiquan

The Bear: The Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)    

Bibliography - Ch'i Kung

Bibliography - Taijiquan     

Bird - Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)

Blog - Valley Spirit Journal by Michael P. Garofalo

Breathing and Taijiquan     

Breathing and Yoga    

Breathing Practices: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes    

Breathwork

Buddhism and Martial Arts    

Buddhist Ethics

California (Northern) T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools, Information

Charkas (Energy Centers of the Subtle Body)

Chan Ssu Chin - Silk Reeling    

Cheng Man-Ch'ing  (1901-1975)    

Chen Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan     

Ch'i - Breathwork  

Chih - Taiji Ruler

Ch'i or Qi

Ch'i Kung: Bibliography and Links    

Ch'i Kung Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo in Red Bluff, California   

Chinese Massage

Ch'i or Qi and Taijiquan     

Classes, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Instructional Program

Classics of T'ai Chi Ch'uan     

Cloud Hands: T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Ch'i Kung     

Cloud Hands T'ai Chi Ch'uan Journal     

Cold Mountain Poets: Wanderers, Mystics, and Sages     

Confucius (K'ung Fu-tzu)  (551 - 479 BCE)    

Contemplation

Crane - Bird - Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)

Crane, Soaring Crane, Intermediate Program, Level 3, Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan   

Cuttings: Short Poems by Michael P. Garofalo  

Cuttings: Above the Fog  

Dance and Taijiquan       

Dayan - Wild Goose Qigong

The Deer: The Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)    

Diabetes Therapy - Exercise: Taijiquan and Qigong   

Disclaimer of the Cloud Hands Website  

Eight Section Brocade Ch'i Kung       

Eight Silken Treasures Qigong    

Eight Trigrams and Taijiquan          

Embrace the One - Zhan Zhuang - Standing Like A Tree

Emptiness in Full Bloom    

Entering Tranquility (Ru Jing) Meditation      

Exercise - Diabetes Therapy - Taijiquan and Qigong   

Feedback, Kudos and Reviews for the Cloud Hand's Website     

Fitness and Well Being    

Fitness for Older Persons     

Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi): Tiger, Bear, Crane, Deer, and Monkey

Five Precepts of Buddhism     

Five Elements (Wu-Xing) and Taijiquan   

Five Stepping Movements of Taijiquan    

Flexibility and Stretching     

Five Elements (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Metal)

Flowers

Flowers in the Sky     

Gardening: Quotes, Poems, History, Sayings

Gardening: Quips and Maxims by Michael P. Garofalo

The Four Gates: Grasping the Sparrow's Tail    

Michael P. Garofalo's Biography

Michael P. Garofalo's T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Practice    

The Goddess - Quotations, Poems, Sayings, Prayers, Songs    

Goose - Bird - Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)  

Goose - Wild Goose Qigong             

Grasping the Sparrow's Tail          

Green Way Research        

Green Way Research - Taijiquan and Qigong       

Green Wizard 

Gu Shen Taijiquan Journal     

Gu Shen (Valley Spirit) Taijiquan Instructional Program

Haiku and Short Poems     

Hatha Yoga

Health and Fitness - T'ai Chi Ch'uan    

Hidden Tiger, Beginning Program, Level 2, Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan   

Index to the Cloud Hands Website

Instructional Program, Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan    

Journal - Valley Spirit Journal by Michael P. Garofalo

Kriya Yoga    

Kudos for the Cloud Hands Website

Kundalini (Coiled Serpent) Energy

Kwang Ping Taijiquan of Kuo Lien Ying     

Labyrinths and Mazes

Links and Bibliography: Qigong    

Links and Bibliography: Taijiquan       

Long Form 108 Yang Style Taijiquan     

Massage

Master Chang San-Feng  (circa 1350)       

Master Cheng Man-Ch'ing  (1901 - 1975)    

Master Han Shan  (circa 750)    

Master Kuo Lien Ying     

Master Sun Lu-Tang   

Mastery, Self Control, Self Mastery, Choices, Will Power, Strength of Character

Meditation - General

Meditation and Breathing

Meditation and Walking    

Meditation Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo in Red Bluff, California        

Meditation Methods and Techniques  

Meditation Quotations    

Meditation - Standing Like A Tree  

Meditation - Wu Ji - The Edge of Emptiness  

Michael P. Garofalo's T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Practice    

Minding the Breath

Months of the Year: Quotes, Poems, Links     

Moving Hands Like Clouds:  T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong    

Northern California T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools, Information

Nature Mysticism   

Nine Movement Temple Ch'i Kung Exercise Set

Oak Tree in the Courtyard    

Old Cloud Hands Website

Older Persons Exercise and Wellness Programs   

Oregon T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools, Information   

Original Cloud Hands URL    

Original Waving Hands Like Clouds URL    

Photography - Valley Spirit Photography Gallery    

Pilates: Links, Bibliography, Resources, Quotes, Notes

Pranayama: Breathing Techniques from Yoga     

Private Instruction by Michael P. Garofalo, Instructional Programs

Pulling Onions: The Quips and Maxims of a Gardener

Push Hands - T'ui Shou   

Qigong: Bibliography and Links    

Qigong - Breathwork

Qigong, Ch'i Kung - Chinese Mind-Body Exercises

Qigong Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo in Red Bluff, California        

Qigong Ruler - Taiji Chih

Qigong Walking      

Qi or Ch'i and Taijiquan     

Raja Yoga

Red Bluff, Valley Spirit Taijiquan Instructional Program

Relaxation and Taijiquan     

Resolve, Will. Willpower, Self Control, Self Discipline   

Reviews of the Cloud Hand's Website     

Ruler - T'ai Chi

Self Control, Self Mastery, Choices, Will Power    

Self-Massage

Senior Citizens Fitness Programs  

Sensing Hands: Push Hands - T'ui Shou   

Shoong, Sung, Song  - Loose, Relaxed, Open, Yielding, Responsive     

Short Form, Yang Style, Beijing Simplified 24

Silk Reeling    

Simplified 24 From, Yang Style       

Soaring Crane, Intermediate Program, Level 3, Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Soulful Gardening

Speaking to the Spirit Meditation

The Spirit of Gardening    

Staff Weapons: Jo, Bo, Can, Staff, Spear    

Standing Bear, Level 1 Ranking, Valley Spirit Taijiquan

Standing Like A Tree - Zhan Zhuang

Standing Meditation (Wu Ji)

Sticking Hands - T'ui Shou   

Stork - Bird - Five Animal Frolics

Strength Training    

Stretching and Flexibility

Subject Index to the Cloud Hands Website

Sun Lu-Tang   

Sun Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan     

Swordsmanship and T'ai Chi Ch'uan     

T'ai Ch'i Classics      

Tai Chi for Arthritis

Tai Chi for Diabetes

T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Bibliography and Links     

T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools, Information, Workshops      
Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo in Red Bluff, California      

T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Red Bluff, CA  

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Short Form, Beijing Simplified 24, Yang Style     

T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Links and Bibliography      

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Staff     

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Sword (Jian)     

T'ai Chi Ruler - Chih

Taijiquan: Bibliography and Links      

Taijiquan - Breathwork

Taijiquan Classics      

Taijiquan For Good Health, Fitness and Vitality         

Taijiquan Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo in Red Bluff, California        

Taijiquan Jian (Sword)     

Tantric Yoga

Taoism, Nature Mysticism, Alchemy      

Temple Qigong - A Nine Movement Exercise Set     

Thirteen Postures: 8 Gates and 5 Steps                  

Thirteen Treasures Walking Qigong       

The 300 Missing Poems of Han Shan      

The Tiger: The Five Animal Frolics (Wu Qin Xi)    

Tiger, Hidden Tiger, Beginning Program, Level 2, Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Tree Qigong - Zhan Zhuang - Standing Like A Tree   

Trees - Quotations, Poems, Lore, Wisdom  

Trees - Lore, Magick, Myths, Magick

24 From, Yang Style, Standard       

Valley Spirit Journal by Michael P. Garofalo     

Valley Spirit Labyrinths  

Valley Spirit Photography Gallery    

Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan Club        

Valley Spirit Taijiquan Instructional Program

Valley Spirit Taijiquan and Qigong Journal by Michael P. Garofalo       

Vancouver, B.C., T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools

Vitality, Health and Qigong   

Walking and Labyrinths

Walking and Taijiquan     

Walking - General Fitness Exercise

Walking - Quotations     

Washington T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong Directory: Instructors, Schools, Information 

Waving Hands Like Clouds:  T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong    

Wild Goose Qigong

Will Power, Self Control, Self Mastery, Choices, Strength of Character   

Wizards

Wu Ji - Standing Meditation   

Yoga Class, TFFC, Red Bluff, CA

Yang Style Taijiquan Long Form 108 Movements     

Yang Style Taijiquan Short Form 24 Movements       

Yin-Yang Sensitivity Training: Sticking Hands - T'ui Shou   

Yoga   

Yoga Class, Red Bluff, CA - Instructor: Michael P. Garofalo

Yoga - Breathwork   

Yoga - Hatha   

Yoga - Kriya     

Yogalates: Links, Bibliography, Resources, Quotes, Notes

Yoga -Tantric

Yoga-Taiji Index

Zhan Zhuang - Standing Like A Tree

Zen Poetry       

Zen Buddhist Quotations   

 

 

Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan Club


Red Bluff, Tehama County, North Sacramento Valley, Northern California, U.S.A.
Cities and small towns in the area: Oroville, Paradise, Durham, Chico, Hamilton City,
Corning, Rancho Tehama, Los Molinos, Vina, Tehama, Proberta, Gerber, 
Manton, Cottonwood, Olinda, Cloverdale, Dairyville, Bend, Centerville, Summit City
Anderson, Shasta Lake, Palo Cedro, Igo, Ono, Redding, Shasta, Colusa, Willows,
Richfield, Fall River, Montgomery Creek, Alturas, McCloud, Dunsmuir, Yreka, Happy Camp,
Shingletown, Burney, Mt. Shasta City, Weaverville, Williams, Chester, Orland,
Susanville, Weed, Gridley, Marysville, Yuba City, NorCalifia, CA, California.

 

January 2, 2005

 

Green Way Research   

Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Cloud Hands: T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Ch'i Kung     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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